EP 043 | Designing Outside The Box with Shawna Starkman

January 15, 2018

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About this Episode

If you’ve been relying on the same style, the same tried and true suppliers, and not taking the occasional creative risk, you may be missing out on an opportunity to provide clients with spaces that are truly one of a kind.

In this episode we learn:
– how to source one of a kind items
– why getting clients involved in the creative process can feel good
– what to do when you hit a creative roadblock
– working in a high-low modality can leave room for the occasional splurge


Take Aways

Shawna recommends stretching yourself by exploring suppliers that you don’t normally use.

  • Glass blowers to create one of a kind light fixtures or a custom vase that’s a gift from you to your client.
  • Welders to create furniture you don’t normally specify.
  • Fabric resources that aren’t the typical options.

When Shawna felt out of touch with her creative well, she went to Kripalu Yoga Center. She adopted a practice she learned there, which is:

B         Breathe
R         Relax
F          Feel
W        Witness
A         Accept

Bergen Country project photos 


Finding your worth as an interior designer. Figure out your value equation and be able to describe what sets you apart from your peers and competitors.


Shawna is the Principal designer for Shawna Starkman Design Group (SSDG), a luxury boutique firm specializing in residential and commercial design in NYC, NJ and the Hamptons. The spaces she creates are known for being beautiful, luxurious, modern, and tranquil, with a unique and unexpected twist. Ms. Starkman began her career in New York as a set designer for commercials and music videos. Throughout her 20 years in the industry she has worked with a diverse group of clients including Max Factor, L’Oreal, Goldman Sachs, and Mastercard, as well as musicians Lenny Kravitz, Sean Combs, David Bowie and Jennifer Lopez, to name a few. Collaborating with artists and directors, she created innovative visuals from unexpected sources and materials, frequently using the skills of master artisans - from glass blowers to metal sculptors. Ms. Starkman successfully incorporated this technique into her interior design methodology. In addition to studying Interior Design at FIT in New York City, Ms. Starkman has studied theater, dance, and film both in the United States and Canada. www.shawnastarkman.com

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